autoPACK: INSTALLATION for Autodesk 3ds Max 2013 64-bits

Current installer Version is 1.1.1


This installation includes uPy, ePMV, & autoPACK

This early installation for Autodesk 3D Studio Max 2013 is an alpha version- use at your own risk and save frequently.

uPy (ubiquitous Python API) enables ePMV and autoPACK to work in Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya, SoftImage, Cinema 4D, Blender and DejaVu by writing only one plugin instead of >5.

ePMV (embedded Python Molecular Viewer) provides all of the capabilities of molecular graphics and molecular mechanics software directly in your 3ds Max GUI.

autoPACK positions 3D geometries into, onto, and around volumes with minimal to zero overlap. autoPACK mixes several packing approaches and procedural growth algorithms. autoPACK can thus place objects with forces and constraints to allow a high degree of control ranging from completely random distributions to highly ordered structures.

cellPACK is a specialization of autoPACK that generates probabilistic 3D models of large sections of cells that can contain dozens to trillions+ of molecules. It can position these molecules to recapitulate observed data where available and can further optimize the molecular interactions on a local level as each molecule is placed into a mesoscale model.

If you have experience with 3D software on a Windows operating system, especially with 3ds Max, this entire installation should take less than 10 minutes.

If you encounter difficulties, please visit the forum to search for answers or ask questions.

We ask that you fill out the optional survey to help us improve the installation procedure.

Running autoPACK in 3D Studio Max requires three major installation steps

  1. You will install the SciViz plugin for 3D Studio Max from an Autodesk website.

  2. SciViz provides a Python API and a Python engine to allow 3D Studio Max to be accessed through the Python programming language.

  3. You will install a specific version of Python (2.6.6) as instructed during the SciViz installation.

  4. You will install a plugin suite, developed by us called the uPy Plugin Suite 1.x.

  5. This suite includes the uPy software (to generate the GUI an geometries), the ePMV software and the autoPACK/cellPACK software.

Written or Video Installation Instructions

    1. The written instructions below will always be the most up to date, but you may prefer to follow the video instructions.

      1. As of Thursday, November 22, 2012, the written and video tutorials match, but please confirm all steps with the written instructions.


  1. Autodesk 3ds Max 2013 64-bits

      1. If you have a different version, you can download the 2013 64-bit version here to try ePMV and autoPACK

      2. For an introduction to the 3ds Studio Max interface, please watch Chris Murray's 3ds Max UI Primer for new Artists on YouTube.

    1. If and only if you alpha tested autoPACK or ePMV with any version prior to December 18, 2012, you must fully uninstall both Sci-Viz and the uPy components:

    2. see the Troubleshooting section at the bottom of the page for instructions on properly uninstalling.

1. Install SciViz and confirm that the correct version of Python is installed and setup

  1. Sci-Viz Plug-in from Autodesk Labs

      1. Install the latest version of the Sci-Viz plug-in for 3ds Max at http://labs.autodesk.com/utilities/sciviz.

      2. The download is a "one-click" installer, but follow all instructions on the Getting Started Link on the left hand side of the sciviz blog.

      3. If you had installed a version prior to Dec. 18, 2012, follow the uninstall instructions in the Troubleshooting section below which require you to run the uninstaller in this .msi before installing again fresh by running the same .msi a second time.

      4. You MUST install Python 2.6.6-64 bit by following the instructions provided at this Sci-Viz link.

  2. Confirm Python 2.6.6 (64-bit) installed

2. Install uPy Plugin Suite 1.x which includes ePMV and autoPACK

  1. Download the uPy plugin package here: autoPack_3dsMax_111.msi

  2. Run the .msi and follow the onscreen instructions.

      1. We recommend accepting the default path for the TSRI-autoPACK folder when prompted.

    1. If you had installed autoPACK prior to Dec. 18th, you must first follow the uninstall steps described in the Troubleshooting section below which involves running he uninstall option from the .msi at this stage before running the .msi again to do a clean install. This will not be necessary for new users.

  1. Restart 3d Studio Max

  2. Customize your 3ds Max UI to provide easy access to ePMV and autoPACK

    1. From the menu select Customize > Customize User Interface . . .

  1. Go to the category and select uPy Plug-ins

  1. Update ePMV, update autoPACK, then restart 3D Studio Max

    1. We are constantly making updates and improvements, and adding models and features, so please update immediately after you install.

3. Complete basic tutorials for ePMV and autoPACK

    1. This alpha version of autoPACK will improve several times each week and the tutorials will expand

      1. For now, follow the basic tutorials then experiment on your own. If you find a bug, check the forum to see if its already been fixed, and if not, let us know.

      2. WARNING: With the current Alpha release version of ePMV 0.5.145, there are some performance lags for atom and stick models. We recommend working only with small molecules like 1crn if you plan to turn on sticks.

    2. Update your ePMV and autoPACK software frequently to get the latest performance, stability and functionality enhancements with just a couple clicks directly from within the GUIs!

4. Improve your software by volunteering to complete the surveys regularly

  1. Survey page


    1. If and only if you alpha tested autoPACK or ePMV with any version prior to December 18, 2012, you must fully uninstall both Sci-Viz and the uPy components:

    2. Remove _MaxPlus.pyd and MaxPlus from C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2013\

    3. When you get to the SciViz installation step III below, first choose the uninstall option to ensure that all components are deleted. Finish, then run again to install SciViz freshly.

    4. Remove uPy.dll and uPy.pdb from C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2013\bin\assemblies\

    5. Remove MGLToolsPckgs from C:\Users\youUserAccountName\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2013 - 64bit\ENU\plugins\

    6. When you get to the "Download the uPy plugin package here: autoPack_3dsMax_111.msi" step below, first choose the uninstall option to ensure that all components are deleted. Finish, then run again to install uPy freshly.

  1. DEPRECATED– Do this only if you encounter problem with Nitrous, but with the latest ePMV update, Nitrous can be used without issues

  2. Symptoms only present in ePMV and include: colors and geometries won't update properly and frame updates will take excess time

    1. Start 3ds Max

    2. Click Customize>PreferencesSettings

    3. Click the Viewport Tab

    4. In Diplay Drivers click Choose Driver

    5. Write down your current settings in case you want to return to them after using autoPACK or ePMV

    6. Check [√]Open GL and click OK

  3. To run autoPACK simultaneously with Maya and 3d Studio Max and/or Cinema 4D

    1. We just discovered that there is a python path conflict caused if you install SciViz (Python engine for 3D Studio Max) from Autodesk on the same Windows computer with Maya. This will soon be fixed by Autodesk, but in the meantime, it is possible to run both programs simultaneously by following this protocol:

      1. Leave the PYTHONPATH Environment Variable that gets written by either SciViz or uPy's .msi as PYTHONPATH

        1. Both installers create this path redundantly

      2. Start Max (you don't need to start the plugins)

      3. After Max is running, change PYTHONPATH to PYTHONPATHmax so it becomes invisible to both Max and Maya

        1. you can access the Python Path Environment Variable at ControlPanel>SecurityAndSystem>System>SystemProperties>Advanced>EnvironmentVariable

      1. Start Maya

    1. Anytime you start Maya, PYTHONPATH must be hidden as something like PYTHONPATHanything

    2. Anytime you start Max or Cinema 4D on Windows, you need PYTHONPATH to be just plane PYTHONPATH